Former coach who abused young cricketers advised to be honest about offending

A former Durham junior coach and scout has been advised to “come clean” about any other victims of his sexual offending as he awaits sentence for a sixth time.

Michael Strange, 64, has been convicted on five previous occasions for abusing young cricketers and last month pleaded guilty to four counts of indecent assault on two males which occurred between 1986 and 1995.

Strange’s offending is the subject of an ongoing internally-led review by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which began last summer.

England v India – First T20 International – SEAT Unique Riverside
Michael Strange was a coach affiliated to Durham and coached at other local clubs in the north-east (PA).

The governing body was accused by a victim in a case which concluded last year of failing to protect him and “countless others” from Strange, who police described as a “monster” after he was sentenced to a two-year prison term last September.

The opening of the ECB review came after another abuse survivor, interviewed by the PA news agency in 2022, urged the governing body to hold an inquiry into Strange’s offending.

Strange appeared by video link at a committal for sentence hearing at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday, and Judge Sarah Mallett invited him to be honest about the full extent of his offending.

“One thing that occurred to me was that if the defendant is aware of any other victims of his offending, I can’t help feeling it would be in his best interests to make a clean breast of it,” she said.

Failure to do so “undermines the indication of remorse”, Judge Mallett added.

“I am not putting him under pressure to admit other offences, I am merely flagging up what is obvious to me. It is not really operating to his benefit to have these allegations heard piecemeal,” the judge said.

“If the defendant has no memory problems and no other issues preventing him remembering, he ought to be able to remember all his victims, or there are too many boys.

“I would invite some reflection on the advantages of coming clean on any matters that may or may not be outstanding.”

Sentencing was adjourned until September 17 to give Strange the opportunity to see police statements related to the case. Prosecutor Rachel Glover said the complainants in this case were “extremely distressed”.

Strange was a coach affiliated to Durham and coached at other local clubs in the north-east.

Police started investigating him in 2005, however the first victim was not able to proceed with the complaint and it was not until 2011 when police were able to gather sufficient evidence to submit a case to the Crown Prosecution Service and obtain charges that allowed for Strange to be convicted for the first time in 2012.

He has since been sentenced for historic child abuse offences linked to cricket in 2016, 2020, 2022 and 2023.